International Development Planning Review

From a living city to a World Heritage City: authorised heritage conservation and development and its impact on the local community

International Development Planning Review (2012), 34, (1), 1–17.

Abstract

When the 'Open Door' policy was adopted by Deng Xiaoping in 1978, China was facing globalisation challenges. The desire for modernity and the influence of the West have both challenged traditional Chinese culture and accelerated the destruction of its historical cities. Historical cities with high cultural value, if they are to survive, must be treated as cultural capital for urban conservation on the national level and economic resources for heritage development on the local level. The case study of the Ancient City of Pingyao indicates that the application of authorised heritage conservation and development at all levels of government created non-reversible socio-cultural impacts on the local community, including the displacement of the local population and public services and the elimination of local activities from the traditional living context. Often as a result of the debate over 'whose heritage?' and 'restoration for whom?' local residents with limited access to heritage become disconnected from their city.

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Wang, Shu-Yi